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Yarmouth Peewee AAA Gateways Baseball Nova Scotia’s team of the year, Scott Jeffery coach of the year

The Chris Scott Construction Peewee AAA Gateways, Atlantic champions and Baseball Nova Scotia’s team of the year for 2019. Scott Jeffery, their head coach, is the BNS coach of the year.
The Chris Scott Construction Peewee AAA Gateways, Atlantic champions and Baseball Nova Scotia’s team of the year for 2019. Scott Jeffery, their head coach, is the BNS coach of the year. - Contributed

Another nice chapter was written this year in the Yarmouth area’s long and rich baseball history, thanks to the Chris Scott Construction Peewee AAA Gateways, who a few weeks ago became Atlantic champions and who are Baseball Nova Scotia’s team of the year for 2019 and whose head coach, Scott Jeffery, has been named coach of the year.

The Gateways travelled to Dartmouth for the Atlantics, which were held in mid-September. They went 4-1 in the eight-team tournament, losing their tournament opener 6-5 to the capital district team from Prince Edward Island.

“That put our backs up against the wall right away because it’s basically lose two games and you’d be done,” Jeffery said, “so we had to win every game after that and we did.”

The Gateways proceeded to defeat teams from Fredericton, Conception Bay and Summerside before facing the same club that had beaten them in the opener – the P.E.I. provincial champs from the capital district – only this time the Gateways prevailed, winning it 3-2 to become Atlantic champs.

“It was a very well-played game all-around,” Jeffery said, “very good pitching and defence on both sides.”

The Gateways had advanced to the Atlantics by placing second to Dartmouth in the 13U provincials, which were held in Yarmouth on Labour Day weekend.

Asked for his thoughts on the Gateways’ 2019 season, Jeffery spoke of his players’ commitment and improvement.

“They worked hard,” he said. “They spent a lot of time on the field practising and, in the end, it showed.”

Initially registered as an AA team, the Gateways were bumped up to AAA. They went on to post a record of 12-3-1 in the Bluenose League, finishing second in the AAA division behind Dartmouth.

Jeffery says about eight of the team’s players are moving up to the bantam level next year and he is moving up with them. By doing so, he will continue to coach a core group he has worked with for four years.

“My first two years, I was helping Keith Bridgeo with them and then I kind of took over last year,” he said. “And each year, you can see them getting better.”

Curtis Falls was Jeffery’s assistant coach this year, although Jeffery prefers to call Falls a “co-coach,” given his importance to the team.

“Without him, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do,” Jeffery said.

The Baseball Nova Scotia awards will be presented Nov. 2 in Dartmouth. Jeffery said he and Falls will be there, along with at least some of the players, although Jeffery acknowledges some may have hockey commitments that weekend.

Meanwhile, as the province’s baseball coach of the year, Jeffery has another major achievement to his credit in a sport he started playing when he was about 10 years of age. In 1990, as a teenager, he made headlines when the Toronto Blue Jays signed him and he joined their minor-league system.

Jeffery later joined the Yarmouth Gateways, who at that time were playing in the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League, and he was a key player on the stellar Yarmouth team that reached the 1994 senior league championship series, losing to Dartmouth.

As he reflected on the 2019 season and the accomplishments of the Peewee Gateways, he said a good deal of effort goes into running a baseball team, “especially at higher levels, more competitive levels. It takes a lot of (work) behind the scenes.” He said he’s grateful for the support of everyone involved, including parents.

Referring to what the Gateways did this year and how Baseball Nova Scotia is recognizing them, he said, “It’s a tremendous honour, really, for the kids ... especially coming from a small town.”

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